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From: Dahr Jamail’s dispatches <•••@••.•••>Date: September 23, 2008 7:55:48 PM GMT+01:00To: Dahr Jamail Dispatches <•••@••.•••>Subject: MidEast Dispatches: Nazzal/Jamail story voted #1Reply-To: •••@••.•••Sender: •••@••.•••“Iraq: Not our country to Return to” for Inter Press Service, by Makial-Nazzal and Dahr Jamail, voted #1 most censored story of 2008 byProject Censored.More information about the story:#1. Over One Million Iraqi Deaths Caused by US Occupationin Top 25 Censored Stories for 2009Sources:After Downing Street, July 6, 2007Title: “Is the United States Killing 10,000 Iraqis Every Month? Or Is ItMore?”Author: Michael SchwartzAlterNet, September 17, 2007Title: “Iraq death toll rivals Rwanda genocide, Cambodian killing fields”Author: Joshua HollandAlterNet, January 7, 2008Title: “Iraq conflict has killed a million, says survey”Author: Luke BakerInter Press Service, March 3, 2008Title: “Iraq: Not our country to Return to”Authors: Maki al-Nazzal and Dahr JamailStudent Researchers: Danielle Stanton, Tim LeDonne, and Kat Pat CrespánFaculty Evaluator: Heidi LaMoreaux, PhDOver one million Iraqis have met violent deaths as a result of the 2003invasion, according to a study conducted by the prestigious Britishpolling group, Opinion Research Business (ORB). These numbers suggestthat the invasion and occupation of Iraq rivals the mass killings of thelast century—the human toll exceeds the 800,000 to 900,000 believedkilled in the Rwandan genocide in 1994, and is approaching the number(1.7 million) who died in Cambodia’s infamous “Killing Fields” duringthe Khmer Rouge era of the 1970s.ORB’s research covered fifteen of Iraq’s eighteen provinces. Those notcovered include two of Iraq’s more volatile regions—Kerbala andAnbar—and the northern province of Arbil, where local authoritiesrefused them a permit to work. In face-to-face interviews with 2,414adults, the poll found that more than one in five respondents had had atleast one death in their household as a result of the conflict, asopposed to natural cause.Authors Joshua Holland and Michael Schwartz point out that the dominantnarrative on Iraq—that most of the violence against Iraqis is beingperpetrated by Iraqis themselves and is not our responsibility—is illconceived. Interviewers from the Lancet report of October 2006 (Censored2006, #2) asked Iraqi respondents how their loved ones died. Of deathsfor which families were certain of the perpetrator, 56 percent wereattributable to US forces or their allies. Schwartz suggests that if alow pro rata share of half the unattributed deaths were caused by USforces, a total of approximately 80 percent of Iraqi deaths are directlyUS perpetrated.Even with the lower confirmed figures, by the end of 2006, an average of5,000 Iraqis had been killed every month by US forces since thebeginning of the occupation. However, the rate of fatalities in 2006 wastwice as high as the overall average, meaning that the American averagein 2006 was well over 10,000 per month, or over 300 Iraqis every day.With the surge that began in 2007, the current figure is likely even higher.Schwartz points out that the logic to this carnage lies in a statisticreleased by the US military and reported by the Brookings Institute: forthe first four years of the occupation the American military sent over1,000 patrols each day into hostile neighborhoods, looking to capture orkill “insurgents” and “terrorists.” (Since February 2007, the number hasincreased to nearly 5,000 patrols a day, if we include the Iraqi troopsparticipating in the American surge.) Each patrol invades an average ofthirty Iraqi homes a day, with the mission to interrogate, arrest, orkill suspects. In this context, any fighting age man is not just asuspect, but a potentially lethal adversary. Our soldiers are told notto take any chances (see Story #9).According to US military statistics, again reported by the BrookingsInstitute, these patrols currently result in just under 3,000 firefightsevery month, or just under an average of one hundred per day (notcounting the additional twenty-five or so involving our Iraqi allies).Thousands of patrols result in thousands of innocent Iraqi deaths andunconscionably brutal detentions.Iraqis’ attempts to escape the violence have resulted in a refugeecrisis of mammoth proportion. According to the United Nations RefugeeAgency and the International Organization for Migration, in 2007 almost5 million Iraqis had been displaced by violence in their country, thevast majority of which had fled since 2003. Over 2.4 million vacatedtheir homes for safer areas within Iraq, up to 1.5 million were livingin Syria, and over 1 million refugees were inhabiting Jordan, Iran,Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, and Gulf States. Iraq’s refugees, increasing byan average of almost 100,000 every month, have no legal work options inmost host states and provinces and are increasingly desperate.1Yet more Iraqis continue to flee their homes than the numbers returning,despite official claims to the contrary. Thousands fleeing say securityis as bad as ever, and that to return would be to accept death. Most ofthose who return are subsequently displaced again.Maki al-Nazzal and Dahr Jamail quote an Iraqi engineer now working at arestaurant in Damascus, “Return to Iraq? There is no Iraq to return to,my friend. Iraq only exists in our dreams and memories.”Another interviewee told the authors, “The US military say Fallujah issafe now while over 800 men are detained there under the worstconditions. . . . At least 750 out of the 800 detainees are notresistance fighters, but people who refused to collaborate withoccupation forces and their tails.” (Iraqis who collaborate withoccupation forces are commonly referred to as “tails of the Americans.”)Another refugee from Baghdad said, “I took my family back home inJanuary. The first night we arrived, Americans raided our house and keptus all in one room while their snipers used our rooftop to shoot atpeople. I decided to come back here [Damascus] the next morning after ahorrifying night that we will never forget.”Citation1. “The Iraqi Displacement Crisis,” Refugees International, March 3, 2008.UPDATE BY MICHAEL SCHWARTZThe mortality statistics cited in “Is the United States Killing 10,000Iraqis Every Month?” were based on another article suitable for ProjectCensored recognition, a scientific investigation of deaths caused by thewar in Iraq. The original article, published in Lancet in 2006, receivedsome dismissive coverage when it was released, and then disappeared fromview as the mainstream media returned to reporting biased estimates thatplaced Iraqi casualties at about one-tenth the Lancet estimates. Thecorporate media blackout of the original study extended to my article aswell, and has continued unabated, though the Lancet article haswithstood several waves of criticism, while being confirmed and updatedby other studies (Censored 2006, #2).By early 2008, the best estimate, based on extrapolations andreplications of the Lancet study, was that 1.2 million Iraqis had diedas a consequence of the war. This figure has not, to my knowledge, beenreported in any mass media outlet in the United States.The blackout of the casualty figures was matched by a similar blackoutof other main evidence in my article: that the Bush administrationmilitary strategy in Iraq assures vast property destruction andlethality on a daily basis. Rules of engagement that require theapproximately one thousand US patrols each day to respond to any hostileact with overwhelming firepower—small arms, artillery, and airpower—guarantee that large numbers of civilians will suffer and die. Butthe mainstream media refuses to cover this mayhem, even after the WinterSoldier meetings in March 2008 featured over one hundred Iraq veteranswho testified to their own participation in what they call “atrocityproducing situations.” (see Story #9)The effectiveness of the media blackout is vividly illustrated by anAssociated Press poll conducted in February 2007, which asked arepresentative sample of US residents how many Iraqis had died as aresult of the war. The average respondent thought the number was under10,000, about 2 percent of the actual total at that time. Thisremarkable mass ignorance, like so many other elements of the Iraq Warstory, received no coverage in the mass media, not even by theAssociated Press, which commissioned the study.The Iraq Veterans Against the War has made the brutality of theoccupation their special activist province. The slaughter of the Iraqipeople is the foundation of their demand for immediate and fullwithdrawal of US troops, and the subject of their historic WinterSoldier meetings in Baltimore. Though there was no mainstream US mediacoverage of this event, the live streaming on Pacifica Radio and on theIVAW website reached a huge audience—including a vast number of activeduty soldiers—with vivid descriptions of atrocities committed by the USwar machine. A growing number of independent news sites now featureregular coverage of this aspect of the war, including Democracy Now!,Tom Dispatch, Dahr Jamail’s MidEast Dispatches, Informed Comment,Antiwar.com, and ZNet.UPDATE BY MAKI AL-NAZZAL AND DAHR JAMAILThe promotion of US general David Petraeus to head CENTCOM, and GeneralRaymond Odierno to replace Petraeus as commanding general of theMulti-National Force in Iraq, provoked a lot of anger amongst Iraqis inboth Syria and Jordan. The two generals who convinced US andinternational society of improvement in Iraq do not seem to havesucceeded in convincing Iraqi refugees of their success.“Just like the Bush Administration decorated Paul Bremer (former head ofthe Coalition Provisional Authority), they are rewarding others whoparticipated in the destruction to Iraq,” stated Muhammad Shamil, anIraqi journalist who fled Iraq to Syria in 2006. “What they callviolence was concentrated in some parts of Iraq, but now spread to beall over the country, thanks to US war heroes. People are gettingkilled, evicted or detained by the thousands, from Basra (South) toMosul (North).”Other Iraqi refugees seem to have changed attitudes regarding theirhopes to return. Compared to when this story was published in March2008, the refugee crisis continues to deepen. This is exacerbated by thefact that most Iraqis have no intention of returning home. Instead, theyare looking for permanent residence in other countries.“I decided to stop dreaming of going back home and find myself a newhome anywhere in the world if I could,” said thirty-two-year-old MahaNuman in Syria, “I have been a refugee for three years now living on thedream of return, but I decided to stop dreaming. I have lost faith inall leaders of the world after the surges of Basra, Sadr City and nowMosul. This seems to be endless and one has to work harder on finding asafe haven for one’s family.”Iraqis in Syria know a lot more of the news about their country thanmost journalists. At an Internet café in Damascus, each of them callshis hometown and reports the happenings of the day to other Iraqirefugees. News of ongoing violence across much of Iraq convinces them toremain abroad.“There were four various explosions in Fallujah today,” said Salam Adel,who worked as a translator for US forces in Fallujah in 2005. “And theysay it is safe to go back! Damn them, go back for what? For roadsidebombs or car bombs?”It has been important, politically, for the Bush administration to claimthat the situation in Iraq is improving. This claim has been assisted bya complicit corporate media. However, the 1.5 million Iraqis in Syria,and over 750,000 in Jordan, will tell you differently. Otherwise, theywould not remain outside of Iraq.To obtain updated information on the refugee crisis, seeAbout Project Censored:Founded by Carl Jensen in 1976, Project Censored is a media researchprogram working in cooperation with numerous independent media groups inthe US. Project Censored’s principle objective is training of SSUstudents in media research and First Amendment issues and the advocacyfor, and protection of, free press rights in the United States. ProjectCensored has trained over 1,500 students in investigative research inthe past three decades.Through a partnership of faculty, students, and the community, ProjectCensored conducts research on important national news stories that areunderreported, ignored, misrepresented, or censored by the US corporatemedia. Each year, Project Censored publishes a ranking of the top 25most censored nationally important news stories in the yearbook,Censored: Media Democracy in Action, which is released in September.Recent Censored books have been published in Spanish, Italian and Arabic.The Project works in cooperation with SSU academic classes Sociology ofMedia and Sociology of Censorship, where students earn credit for theirresearch and participate in writing the annual yearbook. Additionally,Project Censored sponsors and supervises over 60 student interns a yearwho do in depth investigative research, sponsor campus events andspeakers, and organize an annual national Media AccountabilityConference. Students also participate in writing the Project Censoredquarterly newsletter (circulation 9,000) and assist with maintaining theProject Censored website www.projectcensored.org, which receives over amillion views a month from all over the world.Between 700 and 1000 stories are submitted to Project Censored each yearfrom journalists, scholars, librarians, and concerned citizens aroundthe world. With the help of more than 200 Sonoma State Universityfaculty, students, and community members, Project Censored reviews thestory submissions for coverage, content, reliability of sources andnational significance. The university community selects 25 stories tosubmit to the Project Censored panel of judges who then rank them inorder of importance. Current or previous national judges include: NoamChomsky, Susan Faludi, George Gerbner, Sut Jhally, Frances Moore Lappe,Michael Parenti, Herbert I. Schiller, Barbara Seaman, Erna Smith, MikeWallace and Howard Zinn. All 25 stories are featured in the yearbook,Censored: The News That Didn’t Make the News._______________________________________________** Dahr Jamail’s MidEast Dispatches **** Visit the Dahr Jamail website http://dahrjamailiraq.com **Dahr Jamail’s new book, /Beyond the Green Zone/ is NOW AVAILABLE!“International journalism at its best.” –Stephen Kinzer, former bureau chief, New York Times; author /All the Shah’s Men/“Essential reading for anybody who wants to know what is really happening in Iraq.” –Patrick Cockburn, Middle East correspondent for The Independent; author of /The Occupation: War and Resistance in Iraq/Order /Beyond the Green Zone/ today!Winner of the prestigious 2008 Martha Gellhorn Award for Jounalism!*** Think Dahr’s work is vital? We need your help. It’s easy! http://dahrjamailiraq.com/donate/ ***(c)2008 Dahr Jamail.All images, photos, photography and text are protected by United States and international copyright law. If you would like to reprint Dahr’s Dispatches on the web, you need to include this copyright notice and a prominent link to the http://DahrJamailIraq.com website. Any other use of images, photography, photos and text including, but not limited to, reproduction, use on another website, copying and printing requires the permission of Dahr Jamail. Of course, feel free to forward Dahr’s dispatches via email.More writing, commentary, photography, pictures and images at http://dahrjamailiraq.comYou are subscribed to the Dahr Jamail’s Iraq Dispatches because you requested a subscription at some point.You can visit http://dahrjamailiraq.com/email_list/ to subscribe or unsubscribe to the email list.Or, you can unsubscribe by sending an email to •••@••.••• and write unsubscribe in the subject or the body of the email.
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